Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Threatened Status for Distinct Population Segments of the Bearded Seal
On December 10, 2010, we, NMFS, published a proposed rule to list the Beringia and Okhotsk Distinct Population Segments (DPSs) of the bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). As part of that proposal, we announced a public comment period to end on February 8, 2011, and then extended the comment period to March 25, 2011. NMFS has received requests for public hearings on this issue. In response, in a previous notice we announced public hearings to be held in Anchorage and Barrow, AK. In addition, in this notice NMFS is announcing a separate hearing that will be held in Nome, AK, to provide greater opportunity for public comment.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Proposed Threatened Status for Subspecies of the Ringed Seal
On December 10, 2010, we, NMFS, published a proposed rule to list the Arctic (Phoca hispida hispida), Okhotsk (Phoca hispida ochotensis), Baltic (Phoca hispida botnica), and Ladoga (Phoca hispida ladogensis) subspecies of the ringed seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). As part of that proposal, we announced a public comment period to end on February 8, 2011, and then extended the comment period to March 25, 2011. NMFS has received requests for public hearings on this issue. In response, in a previous notice we announced public hearings to be held in Anchorage and Barrow, AK. In addition, in this notice NMFS is announcing a separate hearing that will be held in Nome, AK, to provide greater opportunity for public comment.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits
The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Northeast Region, NMFS (Assistant Regional Administrator), has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. In support of research conducted by the Coonamessett Farm Foundation, Inc. (CFFI), this EFP would grant exemptions from the limited access scallop days-at-sea (DAS) program to allow CFFI to conduct tests with its low profile excluder dredge (CFFI dredge). In addition, limited access and limited access general category (LAGC) vessels would be authorized to temporarily retain fish that would otherwise be restricted by commercial fishing regulations. Such regulations include minimum fish sizes; fish possession limits; species quota closures; prohibited fish species, not including species protected under the Endangered Species Act; and gear-specific fish possession restrictions. The Assistant Regional Administrator has made a preliminary determination that the activities authorized under this EFP would be consistent with the goals and objectives of the Atlantic sea scallop Fishery Management Plan (FMP). However, further review and consultation may be necessary before a final determination is made to issue an EFP. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed EFPs.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
Notice is hereby given that NMFS has received four scientific research permit application requests relating to Pacific salmonids. The proposed research is intended to increase knowledge of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and help guide management and conservation efforts. The applications may be viewed online at: https:/ /apps.nmfs.noaa.gov/preview/previewopenforcomment.cfm
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Russian River Estuary Management Activities
NMFS has received an application from the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals incidental to Russian River estuary management activities. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to SCWA to take, by Level B Harassment only, several species of marine mammals during the specified activity.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Modification of the Retention of Incidentally-Caught Highly Migratory Species in Atlantic Trawl Fisheries
This proposed rule would modify the permitting and retention requirements for Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) to address the incidental catch of North Atlantic swordfish in squid trawl fisheries, and the incidental catch of species in the smoothhound shark complex (which includes smooth dogfish and Florida smoothhound (genus Mustelus) in all Atlantic trawl fisheries. The action would reduce regulatory discards of incidentally-caught HMS in the Illex squid trawl fishery by establishing a new Incidental HMS Squid Trawl permit, and improve reporting and compliance with HMS regulations in Atlantic squid trawl fisheries. The proposed rule would also address regulatory discards of incidentally-caught species in the smoothhound shark complex by establishing a retention limit for smoothhound sharks in all Atlantic trawl fisheries. The proposed actions are necessary to achieve domestic management objectives under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), and to implement the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan (Consolidated HMS FMP), including objectives in the FMP to monitor and control all components of fishing mortality, both directed and incidental, so as to ensure the long-term sustainability of HMS stocks, and to provide the data necessary for assessing HMS fish stocks and managing HMS, including addressing inadequacies in current data collection and the ongoing collection of economic and bycatch data in Atlantic HMS fisheries.